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Album Reviews
Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014
What did they know when they titled the last recording released before Charlie Haden’s death on July 11? That his boyhood polio had returned, fatally as it turned out. Polio long ago robbed his young singing voice. So he became perhaps the most songful of bassists. That instrumental voice
Theater
Wednesday, July 2, 2014

APT’s Sara Day enacts Joan Didion’s memoir with intensity

 The audience laughed at the line: “You know when they assign you a social worker you’re in trouble.” But humor often hangs uneasily in American Players Theatre’s staging of Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical
Album Reviews
Thursday, May 22, 2014
 Minneapolis’ muscular alt-jazz trio bravely delves into Igor Stravinsky’s transformative epic, yes, boiling it down; yet Ethan Iverson brilliantly funnels Stravinsky’s glittering, dissonant orchestration through his keyboard. Bass and drums stoke the suspense and ecstasy, the thunderous drama, the
Art
Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Skewed reality, subconscious anxiety at Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

 Heart-plucking Americana pictorial art, brash abstract expressionism, impishly ironic pop art and postmodern spin-offs can all make claims as “real American art.”
Books
Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014

Russell Banks explores human connection in a harsh world

 From a son’s massive saga of his father, Civil War firebrand John Brown, to his incisive new story collection, Russell Banks’ fiction has demonstrated acute insight into human relations in a myriad of intensely pressurized, comic and tragic permutations. Ostensibly about family in the broadest sense
Art
Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014

Grohmann photography exhibit evokes the romance of the railroads

 Thomas Garver understands O. Winston Link as a genius who “seduced” viewers with the romance of billowing smoke, thundering pistons and clattering train tracks. The analogy is apt given Link’s background
Album Reviews
Monday, Dec. 23, 2013
Tomasz Stanko is probably our greatest living lyrical jazz trumpeter, his style inspired by Miles Davis. Yet the Polish master speaks in his own almost uncannily disarming language. His sensibility—beautifully brooding, sly, witty—emits notes like snaking smoke. As they unfurl and ooze, the articulated effect is